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Strangers Will Come (PG: MIld Profanity)


Nov 23, 2019
"What the hell...did she commit suicide, overcalculate or what? Why is her house a write-off?" Buffy, Willow, Tara, Doug and Oz stood outside the remains of the Madison residence, now only burnt and collapsed beams of wood, broken glass and twisted metal. Tara shook her head:
"It got hot enough to distort and melt metal. This was no ordinary housefire, nor was it an accident."
"I don't smell a charred human body inside, either." Oz added.
"Added to which, there was a powerful cast in here several hours ago. Focused on a magical artifact...ah. Doug, if you'd impose a ward around the artifact in question..."
Buffy whistled: "A necklace? Hang on, that's Anyanka's necklace. I thought Giles had destroyed it, so it couldn't be used as a portal to that weird parallel universe where Willow was a vampire and I wasn't in Sunnydale?"
Doug ran his fingers over it: "It's been molecularly reassembled. And it's still functioning for exactly that reason- Amy's gone sideways, over to that Wishverse place, as Cordy called it when she encountered it."
Willow nodded: "I remember. She said there was no Buffy in that Sunnydale, that Buffy's old enemy the Master had turned Xander and me into vampires and that Giles led a Sccobies type group called the White Hats that staked lots of vampires. And that there was a final battle against the Master and that Buffy, Vamp Xander, Angel and I were all toasted during it. But why go there?"
Tara scrutinised it more closely: "No wonder the house blew up- that must have been a major effort, getting to that Sunnydale's past and altering it."
"Why would she want to do that?" Doug asked.
"Nothing good. Tara and Oz, could you look after Dawn and guard the city while we're gone? Doug and Willow, with me."
Oz hugged his partner: "Take care, loverman.:
"You too, Danny."
Willow kissed Tara: "You're turning into quite a forensic witch, sweetie."
"Be careful, Willow honey. Amy's got some major bad mojo because of all the darkmagick she's stolen over here."
Doug drew a salt circle: "Take us across."
With that, the three of them dematerialised.


As they rematerialised in Sunnydale's graveyard, Doug looked around him:
"Something's badly wrong here. If the Master and his other vampire entourage were staked, then why are there still so many newly dug graves in the vicinity?"
"Someone wicked this way comes" Buffy said, grasping her crossbow.
Willow and Doug warded, but they weren't quite ready for the three newcomers as they broke through the dessicated and ruined woods of Hammerfell Park:
"Well, well. Looks like we have some unwelcome visitors. Wondered how long it'd take you to work out what happened over here." Vamp Willow replied, as Buffy and Willow stood aghast at whom they saw:
"Alexander. I'm not that weakling from back in your world. And I'm no friend of yours."
Doug stepped forward: "You got that right, mate. Keep away from these two, or else. Yeah, I know, Wills. But this leech long ago ceased to be anyone with the real Xander Harris' compassion, inner strength and fortitude."
Vamp Xander gamefaced: "Watch your mouth, little Watcher boy. Yeah, I know who you are, even if you've got four or five years on the Doug Mercer that I fed on and killed."
The third figure emerged from behind a bush: "Hey, Alex. Who's the stud witch guy?"
Doug did a double take: "Oh bloody hell. Why does every conceivable version of Andew Wells want to get into my pants?"
"You turned Andrew Wells into a vampire?! What, were you that desperate at the time?" Buffy exclaimed.
:Vamp Andrew's eyes narrowed: "You do realise you're dead here, slayer? And that we don't take that sort of shit from your kind here anymore?"
"Enough of this. These arrogant non-entities want to intrude within our Sunnydale? Let's teach them a lesson, boys..." Vamp Willow said, running toward the three "Buffyverse" companions. Willow triggered a powerful ward and started grappling with her twisted mirror image:
"Uh!!! Hey, you've improved from the timid mousie I met in your Sunnydale last time..."
"You haven't. Still the same tarty skank as ever. Still as arrogant and overconfident."
"Whereas you...you've gone all kick-assy and determined. Def not as timid. Someone's had an infusion of guts."
"Why aren't you permanently dead? You should be."
"Amy sends her regards." Vamp Willow taunted, trying to get a lock onto Willow's neck and overpower her, but startled at the power evident within the wiccan. Truth be told, she was also somewhat secretly pleased that her alternate universe counterpart was putting up such a determined battle.

Elsewhere on the field, Vamp Xander and Doug were hammering away at each other:
"So what happened to the weakling? Why are you here instead of him?"
"Because the real Xander Harris, the one you're a sick distorted leech parody of, gave his life to save his friend the slayer."
"I killed the real Doug Mercer."
"No, you didn't. I don't know why my alt version was here before he could power up and effectively get his powers under more conttol, but I'm more experienced and a lot more deadly." To emphasise his point, Doug sent a searing heat blast which Vamp Xander only just had time to sidestep:
"You're good, I'll grant you that."
"Shut up and die, leech." Doug countered, kickboxing hard into the vampire's midriff with a metabolic enhancer spell.

Buffy was having considerably more luck:
"All right, both of you! As you can see, I've got your green little sidekick, Vampire Andrew here, in a compromising position. One more move on either of my friends and I stake him."
"Don't listen to them. Finish them off."
Vamp Xander hissed and nodded:
"Do as he says, Willow. Andy, get back over here."
"This isn't over, any of us." Buffy shoved Vamp Andrew forward, as he fell into Vamp Xander's arms:
"Nice try, young hellion."
"Did I ever mention I love it when you call me that, Alexander?"
"You're not experienced enough to take on someone like that slayer. She's more experienced than the Buffy Summers that Willow and I killed.'
'Oh, get a crypt, both of you!" Willow called as their attackers retreated:
"What gives? I thought Cordelia said they'd been staked years ago." Doug remarked, dusting off his leather jacket.
"Amy. She's interfered with this world's timeline, so Vamps Willow and Xander have survived and my alt self still died. Along with Angel, Giles and by the sound of it, an alternate younger version of you, Doug." Buffy said as Willow alighted next to them:
"And I would've been willing to do that and still would anytime, Buffy." Doug commented.
"Andrew Wells? They turned Andrew Wells?" Willow commented as the three of them trudged toward what seemed to be a main campground.
"Wonder if there's an Initiative here...?"
"You got that right, leech! Hands up where we can see you!"
Willow gasped in disbelief: "Tara, baby?!"
"We're not on first name terms, leech. You can call me Lieutenant MacLay." Clad in army fatigues with short shorn hair, nevertheless the gun toting female soldier was still recognisaly Tara MacLay, but angrier, more disciplined and intent on detaining these questionable newcomers. Suddenly, an equally familiar dimunitive form came barrelling from the tents and almost knocked Doug over:
"Oh thank god. I knew you weren't dead. I knew it. You've come back to me after all this time, Doug..." An alternate Daniel Osborne, also clad in battle gear, sobbed as he held onto Doug as if he'd been missing from his life for a long time. And, in a real sense, his alternate self had been. Doug gently prised them apart:
"Danny, I'm so sorry. But I'm not the Doug Mercer you knew and loved. I'm an alternate universe version of him. This is our Buffy Summers. And that's our non-vampire Willow Rosenberg."
"How can we be sure you are who you say you are?" Lieutenant MacLay said, still suspicious.
"Read my mind. You couldn't do that if I was a vampire or immortal, could you?"
MacLay did so: "Unbelievable. We're...my alternate self...is lovers with you?!"
"So. Oz. you and the lieutenant here are with the Initiative? Is there anyone else we can talk to? Riley?"
Alternate Oz shook his head: "They got Captain Finn shortly after they killed our Buffy Summers, Giles and Doug."
"What else has happened here, Oz? Why is this Sunnydale a war zone?"
"They know something they aren't telling us..." MacLay stated, still glaring at Willow.
"We'll remedy that now. Our Amy Madison is a powerful darkmage. She must have come across Cordelia's record of this place, this Wishverse of yours. So, she decided to take herself here and ...what? Recruit Vamp Willow and Xander?" Buffy asked.
"Through changing your world's history. They got staked here originally."
"So you're it? The New Initiative?"
"Or the core of it, anyway. Have you folks eaten? We were just about to."



Nov 23, 2019
After having consumed army rations, Buffy, Willow and Doug continued a conversation of their own:
"First impressions? Apart from the fact Amy Madison has tampered with this place's history?" Buffy asked
"I think she might be trying to harvest people from across a possible multiverse of worlds. Which explains why she's suddenly best friends with that awful vampire version of me. And Xander. It breaks my heart to see that creature looking so much like him but so strutting, arrogant and posturing."
"The question I've asked myself is why did Madison choose this particular world?" Doug said, stirring the fire.
"It's connected to our own Earth. You know about Cordelia Chase visiting here and then Vamp Willow's reciprocal excursion back to our own world?"
"Yeah, I met Cordy in Los Angeles one time. Is it because this world is somehow darker?"
Willow shivered, despite the relative warmth: "They haven't mentioned the Master. What d'you two make of that?"
"At a guest, Vamps Willow and Xander didn't want him resurrected when Amy reset this timeline. They wanted this Sunnydale all for themselves. So, Amy produced a mirror universey situation where the worst possible case prevailed- no slayer, no senior or junior Watcher personnel, and minimal resistance to their domination of Sunnydale. So where's the next slayer in line, Buffy?"
Buffy shook her head: "Either Kendra or Faith. I'm guessing they're detained elsewhere."
"If they're still alive, although I didn't see any graves for them, so I suspect that means that they're stull alive and slaying." Willow concluded.
"And vampires would be telepathically impervious, so I can't eavesdrop on their plans, bugger it." Doug said.
"I suggest we discuss this tomorrow after a good night's sleep"

Several miles away, in bed, Amy Madison lay awake considering her own current situation. How had this all gone so wrong, so quickly? Obviously, MacLay had tracked her here and the slayer, Willow and Mercer had come here to retrieve her and contain her abilities. As if she'd let that happen. She liked it here, but it wasn't her own world and she didn't care what happened to it, even if Vamp Alexander Harris was excellent in the sack... even if she had to share him with that oversexed vicious little whelp of his, the vampire version of Andrew Wells, however.
Still, she intended to abandon this world if the slayer and her associates prevailed. The problem was, Willow was probably more powerful than she was and Mercer was a cunning bastard who'd been around for a while. She didn't underestimate either of them. However, their first loyalty was to Sunnydale and fighting whatever came up from the Hellmouth, so they wouldn't stay here for long if she disappeared offworld to yet another alternate Earth. And this time, it would be one that had no direct association with their world of origin.

Vamp Willow was out on patrol that evening while her associate and his new flame slept. She was curious about her alternate self- she'd had the beginnings of a quite gifted wiccan when she'd met her a few years ago during her involuntary visit to their whitebread goody goody universe. By the looks of her now, she'd continued down that path and had blossomed into a powerful and confident witch. And she'd come out, judging from that reaction to Lieutenant MacLay- although from what Amy Madison had told them, an alternate Tara MacLay was her other self's lover. Speaking of which, though, she definitely didn't trust the darkmage. The other complication was Mercer. He wasn't the brash, cocky late teenager that Alexander had killed several years ago with his mentor, Giles. He was different and older and more guarded and focused on what he was doing. She watched her whitebread self sleep and saw the slayer and Mercer slumbering as well. Unfortunately, their additional mojo had produced a near impregnable wardshield around the camp. She silently made her way back to their fortress and wondered if Amy Madison was the messiah that Alexander thought she was... or the harbinger of the end of their existences, who might bring doom on them all. It wasn't a comfortable thought.



Nov 23, 2019

"That. Arrogant. Wiccan. Guy. Who does he think he is?" Vamp Xander snarled
"A highly experienced Watchers Field Agent, with six years training under his belt who once beat up ... say, do you have a cutish blonde vampire named wither William Pratt or Spike in this world?"
"Oh, him. Gave him a good spanking once."
"Ah. Do you have that on DVD?"
"Proving once again that there is some continuity between pre and post-turning." Vamp Willow commented.
"Well, you should know, Willow." Vamp Andrew commented.
"Enough banter. We need to work out how to get those interlopers from that whitebread alternate universe out of here." Vamp Willow commented.
"Can't you zap them back, Amy?" Vamp Xander asked.
"Unfortunately, Willow is in my power league and Mercer is too deadly to turn your back on."
"I'd like to turn him on his back.." Vamp Andrew commented.
"He wouldn't let you. And apparently back in my universe, he and the werewolf are an item."
"Can he be corrupted?" Vamp Andrew persisted.
"No, thanks to Captain Peroxide's alternate self almost beating him to a pulp and resulting in him having a vendetta against anything undead for the last seven years."
"Gak. How nauseating. At least my alternate self has some intriguing dark side."
"That's just narcissism." Vamp Xander retorted.
"You just don't like Mercer because of your thing against potential alpha males." Vamp Willow laughed.
"Uh, hello? What's past is past? I am the alpha male here now?"
"That's only becsause Andy is a... gamma? Delta? ...Omega?"
"Hey! I took on the slayer, remember?"
"And lost." Amy pointed out.

"I wonder what those monsters are talking about?" Alternate Oz asked.
"Probably nefarious ways to disembowel and slash our throats" Buffy observed.
"Thank you for that mental image, Buffy..." Willow said, putting down an omelette:
"We've got our work cut out for us. They abducted Larry Blaisdell last year. I ...can't tell you how we found him."
"Good point, Lieutenant. We need to strategise about how we take on the fortress."
"At least we have a chance with you both here." MacLay responded.
"I'm sorry, I..." Willow retreated to the tent.
"Tara, was that really necessary?" Alternate Oz chided her.
"I was only doing my job."
"Who did Vamp Willow kill, Tara? Was she someone close?"
"Rose. She was the first woman I ever loved. I had to watch as that leech drained the life from her."
Doug nodded: "Hey, I've been there too. That was how I got my mojo activated, only I was on the receiving end. Her name was Kiri. She was a trans street hooker. And my best friend back in those days."
"But Lieutenant? That Willow isn't ours. She's not a vampire. And she's in love with your alternate self." Buffy added.
"Have you any idea what your presence here is doing to Daniel, Doug?" MacLay quietly replied.
"I know, and I wish I'd known before coming here. I would have done anything to spare you that, Daniel." Doug said softly.
"It's cool, Doug. I know you're not him. You're what he would have become if he'd lived longer."
"I wish he had, Daniel. For you sake and peace of mind."
"You, at least, Doug, are a lot like him. Which is comforting and reassuring."
"So, does anyone have plans of that fortress of theirs?"

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